The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is a UK charity that focuses on understanding birds and, in particular, how and why bird populations are changing. Our vision is of a world where people are inspired by birds and informed by science
The BTO is one of the world’s leading impartial scientific research organisations specialising in furthering our understanding of birds. Our fieldwork includes surveys involving up to 50,000 volunteers, each of whose individual contribution is a vital part of our accumulated knowledge.
We are particularly interested in changes to wildlife populations in relation to their ecology and the habitats on which they depend. Our information base includes long-term datasets, some of which have been in place for at least 50 years. We are committed to making our knowledge available to optimise its use for nature conservation, land management, policy making and applied scientific purposes. We publish scientific results and provide impartial evidence.
We work in partnership with others in the academic and conservation science communities, with government departments and agencies, and with the private and voluntary sectors. The BTO has a unique combination of professional scientists and volunteers, highly valued data and information, and modern surveys with web-based, on-line data entry and retrieval.
This year our Garden BirdWatch survey celebrates 25 years. In that time we have received an incredible 8,798,585 garden lists from our Garden BirdWatch community, giving us a look into gardens across the length and breadth of the UK.
Through our work on garden ecology we have learned that the increase in the amount of bird food that we have put out over recent decades has led to a wider variety of species taking advantage of garden bird feeders. We also know that the bird food in gardens, alongside warmer winters, has been a driving factor in Blackcaps evolving a new migration route.
Despite Covid-19, our science hasn’t stopped. We have still been able to monitor the birds in our gardens, analyse and model the data we have, share our research with communities online, offer virtual training and id videos. If this pandemic has taught us nothing else, it has shown how important scientific research is, and the need to further our understanding of the natural world.
Each year we need to raise thousands of pounds to fund our research and monitoring of Britain’s bird populations. The data obtained from our work provide crucial evidence for the conservation of bird species and habitats. One way you can regularly support our work financially is to become a member from just £3 a month.